Sun rises over the horizon. I always love that we have a small balcony on the east where every morning we can enjoy the thousands way the sky is painted by lights and clouds in the soothing cold air. It’s one of the best things to see in the morning. I am lucky. I also love how my kitchen smells in the morning when other elements in the house seemed to be subdued. No noise, so quiet.
After I warmed up my house with the smell of butter, eggs and coffee for breakfast, it’s time to spice things up for lunch. Since I’ve been cherishing Northeastern Thai food lately, I use more fresh chilies, fresh herbs and other vibrant vegetables in my kitchen. I have marinated a couple of Tilapia with garlic, ginger, white pepper and salt since morning. By lunch, the fish is packed with flavor. This is traditional. Simple, seasonal and whole. We can steam the fish with loads of veggies, but I think maybe I want to have the light and crispy skin cover the flaky soft fish. So I fry them. I love the savory garlic fume from the pan. The fish turns golden brown and crisp in minutes.
While the fish is frying, I throw some fresh green chilies, shallots and tomatoes in the fire until they are nicely charred. Then I pound them in the mortar with garlic, lime, a little sugar and lots of fish sauce. This is a perfect side for the aromatic fried fish.
Fried Tilapia with Thai Chili and Tomato Chutney
2 tilapia- cleaned and washed, then make a few slits on the side
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
Oil for deep frying
8 fresh green chilies
6 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp fish sauce
A pinch of sugar
Marinate fish with salt, white pepper, garlic and ginger for at least 15 minutes.
Heat oil in the frying pan over medium heat and fry the fish until golden brown. Remove the fish from the oil and transfer them to the serving plate.
For chutney, grill chilies, tomatoes and shallots in the direct flame until nicely charred.
In the mortar, add garlic and roughly pound it. Then add chili, garlic, and tomato, pound further until the ingredients are mixed well. The texture of the chutney should be in pieces and not smooth.
Season the chutney with sugar, fish sauce and lime. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve fish with chutney and fresh vegetable on the side with some steamy sticky rice.